Almanack Contributor Mike Lynch

Mike Lynch

Mike Lynch is a staff writer and photographer for the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly news magazine with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues.

Mike’s favorite outdoor activities include paddling, hiking, fishing and backcountry skiing. In 2011, he paddled the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine.

From 2007 until 2014, Mike worked as an outdoors writer and photographer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake.

Mike welcomes story ideas and can be reached at mike@adirondackexplorer.org.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Rare Great Gray Owl Draws Birders to Keene

Manhattan resident Kathy Drake has seen nearly 600 different bird species in her life and regularly travels to observe them. So when she recently found out there was a great gray owl in Keene, she decided to drive up to the Adirondacks to see it. After all, it was a lot closer to home than Minnesota, where she spent four days last year unsuccessfully looking for the bird.

“You don’t have any idea how magical this is,” Drake said. “It really is.”

Drake said she arrived in Keene with her friends in the early afternoon on Wednesday and planned to spend the night in Upper Jay before heading back to New York City the next day. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Research On Native Adirondack Fish Species Continues

Two years ago a research team from Paul Smith’s College published a paper about the possibility that yellow perch could be native to the Adirondacks, after finding its DNA in sediment from Lower St. Regis Lake that dates back more than 2,000 years ago.

Now similar sediment core sampling is being done on Mirror Lake in Lake Placid. In late February Paul Smith’s College students under the tutelage of Paul Smith’s College Professor Curt Stager – who led the original study – teamed up with Ausable River Association Science and Stewardship Director Brendan Wiltse to take sediment samples that will be analyzed for the presence of three fish species: yellow perch, rainbow trout, and lake trout. The group also plans to extract additional samples in the future. The DNA testing will be done by the Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith’s College. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Millennials Go Digital in the Adirondack Park

millennials in the adirondacksGrowing up in Keene Valley, Sophie McClelland often sought solitude on Indian Head, a rocky cliff with a gorgeous view of Lower Ausable Lake in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve.

Now twenty-seven, she noticed this summer that more people were visiting the lookout. One morning she arrived at sunrise to find a half-dozen people already there. Over Columbus Day weekend, she counted more than twenty-five hikers on the summit. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 26, 2016

Black Bears Seldom Attack People

black bearDespite all of the black-bear incidents this year, including many close encounters in the woods and in residential areas, there were no reported injuries to people.

Historically, few people have been injured by bears in the Adirondacks, although many have come extremely close to them. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Summer of 2016 Was Bad News For Bears

black bear Jean Belanger was starting a climb at the Beer Walls in Chapel Pond Canyon when his girlfriend, Isabel Rodriguez, yelled up to him to come down right away. “That usually means I have a spider on my back,” Belanger said.

But there was no spider this time. Instead Rodriguez had spotted an approaching mother bear and its cub. After quickly descending, Belanger walked a short distance away from the bears and started yelling and clapping. “They didn’t make any aggressive moves toward me at all,” he said. “It was really the packs they were walking toward.”

Bear experts recommend that people do what Belanger did when they encounter a black bear in the woods: make a lot of noise to scare the animal away. Black bears are generally fearful of humans, unless they have come to associate people with food. In these cases, the bears can become bold but will still usually run from people. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Beloved, Photogenic Keene Barn Comes Down

For amateur photographer Nick Palmieri, the structure known as the “Keene barn” was always a welcome sight as he arrived in the High Peaks region.

“I’ve always called it the gateway to the High Peaks,” said Palmieri, who lives in New Jersey and runs the Save the Keene New York Barn Facebook page. “From an artists’ point of view that barn just sits in the perfect spot, just to make the scene perfectly beautiful.” » Continue Reading.


Friday, December 16, 2016

Volunteer Searchers Play Key Role in Algonquin Search

missing-hikers

Volunteer searcher and well-known Lake Placid climber Don Mellor was hiking just above treeline on a frigid Algonquin Peak when he heard the faint sound of a man calling. Then he heard a woman’s yell.

That’s when he knew he had found them. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Alpine Plants on High Peaks Summits in Jeopardy

alpine floraThe growing number of hikers in the High Peaks in recent years has heightened concern for the fragile alpine vegetation found on many of the summits.

If the number continues to increase, summit stewards charged with educating hikers may find themselves overwhelmed, said Julia Goren, the Adirondack Mountain Club’s education director.

“I don’t think we’ve lost ground yet,” said Goren, who heads the summit-steward program. “But I do think it’s not hyperbolic that we’re kind of at a tipping point where there’s not much more we can take before there’s going to be some kind of loss. One summit steward can’t talk to six hundred people in a day and make sure that people are respecting every patch of alpine vegetation.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Hiker’s Role In Disturbing The Wild

scarlet tanagerA trail weaving its way through the woods to a summit takes up just a minuscule fraction of the wild lands it traverses, which may leave the impression that trails have little impact on wildlife. Research in recent years by the Wildlife Conservation Society suggests that is not the case.

“You’d be surprised by the ripples left by a day hiker’s ramble through the woods,” wrote Christopher Solomon in the New York Times in 2015. “In 2008 Sarah Reed, an associate conservation scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, and her colleagues found fivefold declines in detections of bobcats, coyotes and other midsize carnivores in protected areas in California that allowed quiet recreation activities like hiking, compared with protected areas that prohibited those activities.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Adirondack Hiking Trails Show Their Age

the-state-pays-the-adirondack-mountain-club-and-other-groups-to-maintain-trails When many of the High Peaks’ trails were cut more than a century ago, the work was done by guides and hired hands. Keene Valley’s Orson “Old Mountain” Phelps created the first trail up Mount Marcy in 1861; Verplanck Colvin’s survey workers cut routes up Algonquin and Dix in the late 1800s; and Henry Van Hoevenberg developed a trail system for the Adirondack Lodge (as it was then spelled).

The early trails opened up the High Peaks to more people and laid the groundwork for today’s trail system, but some of the original trails continue to cause maintenance problems. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 3, 2016

Boat Builder Allison Warner Breaks the Mold

Allison Warner and Rob DavidsonMen have dominated the craft of building guideboats ever since the middle of the nineteenth century, when the first guideboats were made. The only known female builder is Allison Warner from Lake Clear.

Warner’s interest in wooden boats dates back to when she paddled wooden canoes while growing up in southern Texas. As a young adult, she moved to the Adirondacks and began working with AmeriCorps as a carpenter’s helper at Great Camp Santanoni under Tupper Lake carpenter Michael Frenette, who introduced her to boat restoration and guideboats in 1999. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Adirondack Guideboats: Building On Tradition

Boat-builder Jim Cameron Building a traditional Adirondack guideboat is a complex task, with ribs carved from spruce-tree roots and with thin hull planks held in place with several thousand tiny tacks. It can take many weeks to complete one.

“I grew up working with wood one way or another, and these are by far the most complex, demanding things, by a long shot, I’ve ever built,” said Rob Davidson, who started building guideboats a few years ago after moving to the Adirondacks from Oregon. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Adirondack Wild Calls For DEC To Address High Peaks Issues

Cascade

An Adirondack Park advocacy group wants the state Department of Environmental Conservation to re-establish a High Peaks Citizen’s Advisory Committee to address increasing usage and resulting impacts to the High Peaks Wilderness.

Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve sent a letter to DEC Region 5 Director Bob Stegemann today, asking for the department to address the surging number of hikers in the High Peaks with a comprehensive approach that includes possible updates to the High Peaks unit management plan. » Continue Reading.


Friday, September 16, 2016

DEC To Turn Away Vehicles From High Peaks Access Road

Adirondack High Peaks March 4 - 2016 by John Warren

State forest rangers will be turning away motor vehicles from the Adirondack Loj Road on weekends this fall due to an excessive number of hikers and vehicles that have been showing up there.

On busy weekends recently hikers have parked on the Adirondack Loj Road after the Adirondack Mountain Club’s parking lot reached its capacity at 200 vehicles. Now motor vehicles will be turned away after the lot is full. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Social Media Adds To Adirondack Summit Ills

The Trap Dike on Mount ColdenGetting information to visitors of the Adirondack Park has always been a challenge for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Unlike other state and national parks, the Adirondack Park lacks an entrance facility where visitors can pick up brochures, maps, or other handouts.

In the past, recreational users relied on local visitor centers, guidebooks and maps, guides and outfitters, and word-of-mouth for ideas on where to go and what to do. It took time to plan a trip. That changed with the rise of the internet. Now information can be found in just seconds or minutes from websites and social-media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. » Continue Reading.


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